Insurance Coverage Checklist

You probably make a checklist for performing home repairs, a shopping list before hitting the grocery store, or perhaps a to-do list for work assignments ?but do you have a checklist for reviewing your insurance coverage? The start of hurricane season is right around the corner (June 1 ? November 30). So now’s the time to check your homeowners or renters insurance?and this handy list will make it easy to be sure you’re well-prepared in case a storm comes your way.

HOMEOWNERS COVERAGE

? Check your policy limit; is it enough to rebuild your home?

Make sure to have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home in the event it is severely damaged or destroyed. And, remember, the real estate value of a house is not the same as the cost to rebuild.

Consider these homeowners coverages to help protect against the costs of rebuilding after a hurricane:

  • Extended Replacement Cost Policy ? pays an additional 20 percent or more above the policy limits.
  • Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policy ? pays the full amount to rebuild your home whatever the ultimate cost.
  • Inflation Guard ? automatically adjusts the coverage limits to reflect changes in construction costs.
  • Ordinance or Law Coverage ? pays a specified amount for rebuilding to new building codes, should your community adopt stricter codes.

? Do you know everything you own and how much it’s worth?

Imagine having to re-purchase all of your furniture, clothing and other personal possessions. Now think about what that would cost. Most insurers provide coverage for personal possessions?approximately 50 to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. Is this enough? The best way to determine what you actually need is to conduct a home inventory?a detailed list of your belongings and their estimated value. The I.I.I.’s free Know Your Stuff ? Home Inventory tool can help.

Check what type of insurance you have for your belongings:

  • Replacement Cost Coverage ? pays what it would cost to replace your personal possessions at their current value.
  • Actual Cash Value Coverage ? pays to replace your personal possessions only at their depreciated value.

? Does your policy provide enough Additional Living Expenses coverage?

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage kicks in if your home is rendered uninhabitable as the result of a hurricane or other insured disaster. ALE covers the extra costs involved in living away from home?hotel bills, restaurant meals and other expenses, over and above your customary living expenses?incurred while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. If you rent out part of your home, this coverage also reimburses you for lost rental income.

Check that the coverage is adequate for your needs:

  • ALE coverage is generally equal to 20 percent of the amount of insurance coverage that you have on the structure of your house; however, most insurers offer the option of higher coverage limits.
  • Many policies provide ALE reimbursements only for a specific amount of time; make sure you’re comfortable with the time limits in your policy.

? What is the percentage of the hurricane/windstorm deductible stated in your policy?

Insurers in every coastal state from Maine to Texas include separate deductibles for hurricanes and/or windstorms in their homeowners policies. Unlike the standard “dollar deductible” on an auto or home policy, a hurricane or windstorm deductible is usually expressed as a percentage. It is clearly stated on the Declarations (front) page of your homeowners policy.

Hurricane and windstorm deductibles generally range from 1 to 5 percent of the insured value of the structure of your home. A hurricane deductible is applied only to hurricanes whereas a windstorm deductible applies to any type of wind. If your policy has a hurricane deductible, it will clearly state the specific “trigger” that would cause the deductible to go into effect.

Keep in mind:

  • If you live in an area at high risk for hurricanes, your hurricane deductible may be a higher percentage.
  • Depending on your insurer and the state where you live, you may have the option of paying more money in premiums in exchange for a lower deductible.
  • A deductible is basically the amount subtracted from an insurance payout. If you have a high hurricane or windstorm deductible consider putting aside the additional money you may need to rebuild your home.

? What disasters does your insurance policy cover?

Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for hurricanes, wind, theft, fire, explosion, lightning strikes and a host of other disasters. However, all policies also list exclusions?such as for flood or earthquake?which are NOT covered by the policy. Get to know the exclusions in your policy and either talk to your Insurance Professional about purchasing separate coverage, or be prepared to pay the cost of those damages out-of-pocket.

Important additional coverages to consider in hurricane-prone areas:

  • Sewer Back-Up Coverage ? Can be purchased either as a separate policy or as an endorsement to an existing homeowners policy. Sewer backups and damage from runoff water caused by major downpours are not covered under standard homeowners nor by flood insurance.
  • Flood Insurance ? Separate flood insurance is available from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from some private insurance companies.

? But, wait, what about your flood insurance policy?

People tend to underestimate the risk of flooding, but 90 percent of all natural disasters include some form of flooding?especially hurricanes! If you live in a flood zone, or a hurricane-prone area, a separate flood insurance policy is a must. But it’s equally important to understand what it actually covers.

An NFIP flood insurance policy provides coverage for up to $250,000 in replacement cost coverage on the structure of the home and $100,000 in actual cash value coverage for personal possessions. Coverage for basements is limited, so make sure you understand what is considered a basement, as well as what is and is not covered in that area of the house. The NFIP policy also does not include coverage for ALE.

Additional tips about flood insurance:

  • There is a 30-day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to go into effect so don’t wait until a storm is imminent to apply for coverage.
  • The NFIP offers a range of deductibles; the deductible you choose will affect the cost of the policy and the amount of money you would receive if you file a claim.
  • If you require a higher amount of coverage than is offered by the NFIP, consider getting excess flood insurance which is available from private insurance companies.

RENTERS INSURANCE

? If you rent, rather than own, your home, have you bought renters insurance?

While your landlord may provide insurance coverage for the structure of your home, as a renter you are responsible for your own belongings. Renters insurance covers the loss or destruction of your possessions if they are damaged by a hurricane or other disaster listed in the policy. A standard renters insurance policy also includes ALE coverage if you are unable to live in your house or apartment due to damage caused by a hurricane.

Flood insurance is also available for renters. However, as for homeowners, the NFIP flood insurance policies for renters do not include ALE coverage.

Don’t wait to review and update your insurance until after you have a loss?there are few things worse than finding out you did not have the right kind of coverage when you are already filing a claim. So before hurricane season kicks off, make sure you’ve reviewed home or renters insurance policy with this Hurricane Season Insurance Checklist. Call your Insurance Professional if you have any questions. They can provide guidance on how to get the insurance protection that’s best for your needs and budget.

For information on how to make your home more disaster resistant, go to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). For information on evacuation, go to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).

. Courtesy of iii.org

Homeowners Insurance-What is Covered?

A standard homeowners insurance policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:

Coverage for the structure of your home.
Coverage for your personal belongings.
Liability protection.
Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.
1. The structure of your house
This part of your policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disaster listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, it is important to buy enough to rebuild your home.
Most standard policies also cover structures that are detached from your home such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo. Generally, these structures are covered for about 10% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. If you need more coverage, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing more insurance.  
2. Your personal belongings
Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disaster. Most companies provide coverage for 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. So if you have $100,000 worth of insurance on the structure of your home, you would have between $50,000 to $70,000 worth of coverage for your belongings. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.
This part of your policy includes off-premises coverage. This means that your belongings are covered anywhere in the world, unless you have decided against off-premises coverage. Some companies limit the amount to 10% of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.
Expensive items like jewelry, furs and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. Generally, you are covered for between $1,000 to $2,000 for all of your jewelry and furs. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for it’s appraised value. Coverage includes “accidental disappearance,” meaning coverage if you simply lose that item. And there is no deductible.
Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance. Generally you are covered for 5% of the insurance on the house—up to about $500 per item. Perils covered are theft, fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism, riot and even falling aircraft. They are not covered for damage by wind or disease.
3. Liability protection
Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter or dog accidentally ruins your neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. However, if they destroy your rug, you are not covered.
The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit of your policy. You are also covered not just in your home, but anywhere in the world.
Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. However, experts recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 worth of protection. Some people feel more comfortable with even more coverage. You can purchase an umbrella or excess liability policy which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits. Generally, umbrella policies cost between $200 to $350 for $1 million of additional liability protection.
Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. In the event a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your family or your pet.
4. Additional living expenses
This pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from a fire, storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other expenses, over and above your customary living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt.
Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your homeowners policy has limits, usually a percentage of the amount of coverage you have on your home, and some policies include a time limitation. But the amount of ALE coverage is separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. For example, suppose you have a policy that provides up to $150,000 in rebuilding costs and up to $15,000 (10 percent) for ALE and you use up the entire $15,000, your insurance company will still pay what it costs to rebuild your home up to the policy limit of $150,000.
Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage for about 20 percent of the insurance on your house. You can increase this coverage, however, for an additional premium. Some companies sell a policy that provides an unlimited amount of loss-of-use coverage, but for a limited amount of time.
If you rent out part of your house, ALE coverage also reimburses you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.   
Courtesy of iii.org

Insure My New Years Eve Party?

Be a Responsible Host When It Comes to Serving Alcohol at Parties

Whether you are hosting a Super Bowl party or greeting the New Year with friends in your home, if you are planning to serve alcohol at any type of party it is important to take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you have the proper insurance.
Social host liability, the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest, can have a serious impact on party throwers. Social host liability, also known as “Dram Shop Liability” laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.
While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may even be liable for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.
Before planning a party in your home, it is important to speak with your insurance agent or company representative about your homeowners coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the policy, which might not be enough.
Most importantly, whether you are hanging out with a small group of friends for cocktails or throwing a big family bash, remember that a good host is a responsible host, and takes steps to ensure guests get home safely if they have been drinking.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Guests

If you plan to serve alcohol at a party the I.I.I. offers the following tips to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure:
  • Make sure you understand your state laws. Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. These laws vary widely from state to state. Some states do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes. Many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
  • Consider venues other than your home for the party.Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks. 
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers. 
  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home. 
  • Be a responsible host/hostess. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety. 
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol. 
  • Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated. 
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks. 
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home. 
  • Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives. 

Thanks to iii.org.

Celebration for Insurance Home Details

Hosting a holiday celebration? You could be liable…
One-third of homeowners fail to realize they can be found legally accountable if an intoxicated visitor causes a car crash, according to a study by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
Courts in many states will rule against hosts of holiday parties where alcohol is supplied to minors. Also, liquor must not be served recklessly to any guest who clearly has actually had too much to consume.
Normally, inebriated visitors can not effectively take legal action against celebration hosts. However 3rd parties victimized in alcohol-related mishaps can and do, specifically when the drunk driver has little or no insurance.
Inebriated driving claims can lead to monetary mess up to the party discovered liable. This past February, for example, a Colorado guy won an $18.5 million settlement after an intoxicated motorist ran him over in his own driveway.
Hosts likewise can be accountable for losses that happen at the party. Think about a minor guest who was served alcohol and whose cigarette sets a Christmas tree on fire. If the resulting blaze ruins surrounding homes, the Christmas party host can be held responsible.
Depending upon state social host liability laws, party hosts may be liable even when no alcohol is included.
A guest who falls on the front pathway of the host’s home can take legal action against the host. A costly claim also can result if partygoers become seriously ill after consuming food served at the celebration. Items on the host’s home, such as swimming pools, trampolines, weapon collections and pet canines, broaden the list of prospective charges.
Insurance for home celebrations
The initial step in preparing a holiday celebration is to verify that the host’s property owner’s insurance (or renter’s or condominium occupant’s insurance) policy offers enough coverage for party-related accidents. Hosts must guarantee there are no policy exemptions associated with serving alcohol.
Another study by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America exposes another major issue: two-thirds of tenants have no renter’s insurance at all.
After a careful assessment of the financial risks, holiday party hosts might choose to get an umbrella liability policy that offers much higher optimums than the underlying protection. For a fairly low premium, umbrella liability policies normally supply an extra $1 million or more of coverage.
Sufficient insurance can be a blessing for hosts who deal with damaging legal settlements.
Job-related vacation parties need to abide by stricter codes of conduct. Lawyer Russell J. Thomas explains that due to the fact that a vacation celebration is a company-sponsored event, “all legal requirements and all policies in the employer handbook continue to be in force.”.
The Insurance Journal reports a spike in sexual harassment claims instantly after the holiday season. Sustained by alcohol, offensive behavior at office parties can lead to problems– versus business and hosts– of a hostile workplace or of harassment.
According to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, companies should:.
Guarantee their comprehensive basic liability (CGL) policies provide protection for third-party liquor liability through a special endorsement.
Purchase unique event protection or a separate alcohol liability policy before hosting a vacation office party.
Hosts holding vacation celebrations off-site ought to ask the place’s owner for copies of insurance certifications for alcohol liability.
Businesses likewise are qualified for million-dollar umbrella liability policies.
Substituting fun for alcohol.
Risk-averse party hosts may decide that legal obligations that go along with serving liquor are too difficult.
One option is to shift the focus of the vacation party far from alcohol by hiring improvisational comedians to emcee occasions. Other alcohol-free alternatives consist of inviting visitors to compete in interactive video games or take part in a motif night.
Celebration hosts likewise might want to change alcoholic beverages with a variety of exotic sodas with flavors such as cherry wine and citrus peppermint. Thanks to iii.org.

Insurance Helps You For Specific Valuables

I think about insurance all the time; you probably don’t (unless you too work in the biz). Truth be told, there are probably 10,0000 other things you’d rather think about. But another truth is that thinking about insurance at least a few times a year is really worthwhile. And, there’s an easy, free way to keep coverage top of mind.

Sign up for our Check20 newsletters. There is no simpler way to be sure your insurance keeps up with you. We’ve got three distinct newsletters to deliver to your email inbox:

  • Home Insurance — published twice monthly with tips on saving money, home safety and disaster preparedness,
  • Auto Insurance — offering strategies for getting the most from your coverage and advice on safe driving habits, also sent twice a month, and
  • Financial Planning — a monthly update providing insight to help you plan for life stages and long-term financial well being.

Each provides straight-to-the-point tips to help you feel confident about insurance coverage decisions. Nothing to buy; no hidden agenda — except for this: The newsletter content is intended to encourage you to spend 20 minutes reviewing your insurance coverage. You’ll likely breeze through them in just a few minutes, and that’s perfect. If you want to dig deeper, the newsletters point you to more free information.

Our mission at the Insurance Information Institute is to improve public understanding of what insurance is and how it works. Part of that mission is to continually remind people that insurance is not a product you buy and put on the shelf. Your life is in motion, and insurance has to keep up.

Never say “fogetaboutit” on insurance. Forgetfulness can cost you. Thanks to iii.org.

Seniors: Protecting from Identity Theft

There always seems to be someone trying to get rich quick at the expense of the unsuspecting. Insurance fraud is a $32 billion business for property/casualty insurers, and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates healthcare fraud to be more than twice that amount. While there are many fraud victim stories to tell, it’s kind of scary when one hits close to home.

I was reminded of the vulnerability of senior citizens yesterday as I cleared a pile of papers from my desk to see a letter an 81-year-old relative received months ago telling her she won a “Shoppers Sweepstakes.” Along with the letter declaring her “winning” $230,000 was a very legitimate-looking check for $3,750. The letter explained the money was an advance to pay the tax on her “winnings” and directed her to send two separate Money Grams for nearly $1,000 each to pay the “tax” on the “winnings.” Thankfully, this relative has a longtime habit of turning over all her mail for review, so nothing happened — other than astonishment over the scam.

Seniors get mounds of unsolicited mail for all types of investment “deals” and requests for iffy charitable donations. It would be great if they had a friend or family member review all such requests before any checks were written or before responding to farcical finance schemes. The state has a program called On Guard for Seniors to help Floridians develop a fraud radar to deflect scams. It’s worth checking out. Thanks to insuringflorida.org.

Why a Below-Normal Hurricane Forecast Could Be Misleading

Why a Below-Normal Hurricane Forecast Could Be Misleading

Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center now say the chances of a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season have increased to 70 percent, up from 50 percent in May.

In its updated outlook, NOAA said overall atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are not favorable for storm development will persist through the season.

Check out the revised numbers in this NOAA graphic:

However, coastal residents may want to heed the words of NOAA lead forecaster Dr. Gerry Bell:

“Tropical storms and hurricanes can strike the U.S. during below-normal seasons, as we have already seen this year when Arthur made landfall in North Carolina as a category-2 hurricane. We urge everyone to remain prepared and be on alert throughout the season.”

This echoes the warning of others. After all, it only takes one landfalling hurricane for a season to go from below-active to active for coastal residents.

A recent post from Weather.com gave the classic examples of 1992 and 1983:

“The 1992 season produced only six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane. In 1983 there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia. The Category 3 hurricane hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct fatalities there as Andrew did in South Florida.”

The $15.5 billion in estimated property losses ($23.4 billion in 2013 dollars) paid out by insurers for Hurricane Andrew ranks second in a PCS chart via the I.I.I. of the 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

If Hurricane Andrew were to occur today, Karen Clark & Company estimates insured property losses would total $57 billion, based on current exposures.

For More News and Information on Insurance and Hurricanes, Visit III.org

Preparing an Effective Evacuation Plan

Preparing an Effective Evacuation Plan

In the event of a sudden emergency such as a hurricane, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? Where would you go? What would you take with you?
With preparation and practice, you stand the best chance of getting out with what you and your family need, and ending up in the right place.
Planning ahead is crucial; this five-step plan can help get you and your family on the road to safety. 
1. Arrange Your Evacuation Ahead of Time 
  • Identify where you can go in the event of an evacuation. Try to have more than one option: the home of a friend or family member in another town, a hotel or a shelter. Keep the phone numbers and addresses of these locations handy.
  • Map out your primary route and a backup route in case roads are blocked or impassable. Make sure you have a map of the area available.
  • In case your family members are separated before or during the evacuation, identify a specific place to meet and ask an out-of-town friend or family member to act as a contact person.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. 
2. Create a Home Inventory 
A home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. A detailed home inventory is also helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid.
To make creating a home inventory easier, the I.I.I. provides free Web-based software at KnowYourStuff.org. Know Your Stuff allows you to organize easily and list your possessions, as well as add digital photographs of your valuables and upload scanned receipts. The program provides free, secure storage of your inventory on Amazon Web Services. Storing your inventory online gives you the ability to access it from any computer in the event your own computer is damaged or destroyed.
3. Plan What to Take
  • Medicines, prescriptions and first aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows)
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants or elderly or disabled family members
  • Computer hard drive or laptop
  • Photographs
  • Pet food and other items for pets (litter boxes, leashes)
4. Gather Important Documents 
Keep important documents in a safe place that you can access easily. In the event of an evacuation take the following documents with you:  
  • Insurance policies
  • Prescriptions
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Passports
  • Drivers license or personal identification
  • Social Security cards
  • Recent tax returns
  • Employment information
  • Wills, deeds and recent tax returns
  • Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates
  • Bank, savings and retirement account numbers
  • Home inventory 

5. Take the Ten-Minute Challenge 

To find out if you are ready, do a real-time test by taking the Ten-Minute Challenge. Give yourself just 10 minutes to get your family and belongings into the car and on the road to safety. By planning ahead and practicing, you should be able to gather your family members and pets, along with the most important items they will need, calmly and efficiently, with a minimum of stress and confusion.

For more information on this and other insurance topics click here to visit III.org

Just In Time for Peak Hurricane Season, Five Tips on How to Have the Right Type and Amount of Insurance Coverage

In Time for Peak Hurricane Season, Five Tips on How to Have the Right Type and Amount of Insurance Coverage

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Before peak hurricane season take the time to review your homeowners or renters insurance policy and make sure you have the right amount and type of coverage, recommends the Insurance Information Institute.

“The time to review your home or renters policy is before you have a loss,” says Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer at the I.I.I. “You don’t want to find out after you file a claim that you could have purchased more insurance.”

The I.I.I. offers the following five tips to properly insure your home:

1. Review Your Insurance—Before You Have a Loss!

  • Read the Declarations “Dec” (front) page of your policy, as it provides a useful summary. Review all policy documents and contact your insurance professional with any questions.  

2. Understand Which Disasters Are Covered—and Which Are Not

  • Hurricanes, windstorms and tornadoes are covered by standard homeowners and renters policies.
  • Floods and earthquakes are not covered—you must buy separate policies for these disasters. Coverage for flooding and storm surge is available from the National Flood Insurance Program and from a few private insurance companies. There is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to go into effect, so buy it now if you need it.
  • More information about flood insurance: Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?

3. Have Enough Insurance

For more information on having correct coverage, and tips like these visit III.org

Wildfires and Safety

Wildfires and Safety

Fire plays an important role in the life of a forest, clearing away dead wood and undergrowth to make way for younger trees. But for much of the last century, fire-suppression policies have sought to extinguish wildfires as quickly as possible to preserve timber and real estate. This approach has led to the accumulation of brush and other vegetation that is easily ignited and serves as fuel for wildfires. Most of the large fires with significant property damage have occurred in California, where some of the fastest developing counties are in forest areas.
2014 AND 2013 WILDFIRES
Between January 1 and June 14, 2014 the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to approximately 2,324  wildfires that have charred nearly  17,806 acres. The five year average for the same interval is 1,447 fires and 12,428 acres charred.
In 2013, 47,579 wildfires burned over 4 million acres, with California, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana and Arizona experiencing the most wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. On June 30, 19 firefighters were killed while working to contain the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. This was the deadliest event for firefighters since 9/11 and the third-highest firefighter death toll attributed to wildfires. A massive wildfire that began near Yosemite Park in California on August 17 had burned over 255,000 acres and was designated as the state’s third-largest wildfire. The December 17 fire in Big Sur, California, burned 917 acres and more than 30 homes. Read More at III.org